interview. Maeve Bluebell Wells creates musical magic with ‘Lucifer’s Dream’

"A song about trusting in the vulnerable shapes we take and about being compassionate to those parts that can be self-harming and cruel"
29th December 2023

In the ethereal landscapes of West Wales, where misty moors meet the restless sea, Maeve Bluebell Wells, a mesmerizing singer-songwriter, is crafting sonic spells that transcend the boundaries of conventional music. Lucifer’s Dream, her most recent creation, is a gothic gem that promises to immerse you in its captivating embrace this winter.

This haunting single, penned before the pandemic, weaves a tale of a charming yet troubled man who stepped into Maeve’s world at a Notting Hill show, introducing himself as Lucifer. Intrigued by this mysterious encounter, Maeve translated the experience into a poetic narrative, a coping mechanism for heartbreak. The verses took shape and found a symbiotic connection with her producer, Leon R James, resulting in a dreamy, synth-centric track with delicate lyricism: “I’ve loved men before but none of this kind, I’ve never loved a man who’s lost his mind, He said his name was Lucifer’s dream.” 

Leading the musical ensemble BlueBelle, with talents like Chloe Beth Smith and Tom Griffin, Maeve is a visionary whose artistry defies categorization. Their first work, High Priestess, created in collaboration with the Grammy and Brit award-winning producer Steve Levine, offered a glimpse of the remarkable potential and delightful idiosyncrasy that characterize Maeve’s musical realm.

Fans can anticipate a sonic experience that echoes iconic voices like Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, and Blondie, all converging in a dark pop and atmospheric blend that Maeve effortlessly navigates.

Take a closer look at the universe crafted by this enchanting Welsh artist and discover what lies ahead in our interview. Maeve Bluebell Wells welcomes you to embark on a musical odyssey where each note serves as a gateway to a different realm, and every lyric is a carefully woven thread in the tapestry of her fantastical narratives.

As I grow as an artist, I hope the oceans of feeling will grow too

Can you share the inspiration behind your latest track, Lucifer’s Dream, and how the encounter with the charming yet troubled man in Notting Hill influenced its creation?

The track was written many years ago now. Sparked by an encounter with a curious character who came to a show I was doing. He arrived almost like a vision from a Brother’s Grimm story and declared his ‘good intentions’ by attempting to cut his skin with a cigarette and introduced himself to my friends ‘Lucifer’ – it was troubling. I think I was so taken aback by the encounter that it became a snap shot of time. It got me thinking about the stories we tell ourselves and and the stories we tell others to make sense of life. I know there have been times when I have heightened a character of myself to survive in a social setting, just like this Lucifer had done – well maybe not as extreme as that! The track now has become a sort of synthy-lullaby, a song about trusting in the vulnerable shapes we take and about being compassionate to those parts that can be self-harming and cruel.

Lucifer’s Dream has a unique and dreamy synth-centric sound. How did you and your producer, Leon R James, collaborate to bring this vision to life?

Leon and I spoke spoke about liking songs that have an indescribable feeling of longing in them – like a dark nostalgia. I told him that in Welsh, we have a word ‘Hiraeth’ which doesn’t have a direct translation but is a feeling close to a pull on the heart of something that is irretrievably lost. So, I sent him the Lucifer’s Dream demo which I had recored on the worst mic and my honky-tonk piano in Wales and I think he felt that feeling. Leon is as much an artist as he is a producer, it’s almost as if he can see the atmosphere of the song and so he tuned in on reinforcing the abstract lyrics with abstract sound. A huge part of the song’s texture is him detaching one of my vowel sounds to create a rhythmic vocal loop which definitely adds to the dreamy quality. 

Maeve, you draw inspiration from mysticism and Welsh mythology. How do these influences shape the musical experience you aim to create with ‘BlueBelle’?

As a child growing up in West Wales, there’s a lot of talk about folklore and so it’s as much a part of my existence as any other foundational lesson we were forced to learn as little ones. ‘Y Mabinogion’ is the name given to a collection of wonderful ancient Welsh stories. These stories were read to us almost as if they were historical fact and as they were so connected to the landscape and nature – they felt very easy to believe. I think being inspired by mysticism and mythology has brought about new ways of creating worlds for my songs to exist in. The first BlueBelle release has different protagonists for each of the four songs. These protagonists are never mentioned in the song but their essence weaves into the invisible tapestry.  

Your project BlueBelle features talents like Chloe Beth Smith and Tom Griffin. How does collaboration contribute to the unique sound and charm of your music?

BlueBelle feels like an ever evolving project, growing from a writing collaboration with Grammy and Brit-award winner, Steve Levine. The new sound is as exciting as it’s beginning. Griffin, Smith and I have this immense love for synth-pop and I have always wanted to make a bilingual disco album so we have decided, that’s what we are going to do in 2024. Collaboration, in my opinion, is the key to creating something multidimensional – each member being a crucial ingredient to the recipe of the sound. They both excel and shine in ways that I simply cannot and it’s an exciting and humbling experience to come together with a unified love of making music. I watch them in their craft and feel such awe – they are amazing. I think that’s a good thing to feel about people you work with and a good place to return to. Every time the three of us have come together, I try to imagine it as if it was the first time so I can remember that buzz – that fire in the belly – that this thing we’re doing is truly fulfilling. 

Maeve, could you share a bit about your connection to the wild and untamed essence of femininity and how it translates into your musical expression?

I grew up with five sisters, each one of them are my greatest sources of joy and inspiration. My parents were wonderful at encouraging us to explore and be outside and not ever wanting to define us in ‘gender normal’ ways – I think they were quite ahead of their time really. That meant that my definition of femininity has always been all encompassing. I have always found it challenging when the more feral side of my personality was seen as something ‘un-feminine’. I think for my music, I hope it translates into working in multicolour and not in monochrome; to being open to explore and not being afraid of creating some madness. The first BlueBelle release has some maverick time signature changes that always throw me off when we’re rehearsing but it definitely keeps everyone on their toes and keeps me very present.

The influences listed include Goldfrapp, Massive Attack, Blondie, and Stevie Nicks. What is it about these artists that inspires or influences the sound you aim to create? Are there any specific elements you use from them in your work?

These artists inspire in different ways but the unifying influence is one of a multi-textural sound which each of these artists excel at in their own unique way. I love the dark-synth sounds of Massive Attack; Alison Goldfrapp’s operatic soars on a bed of driving beats; Debbie Harry’s effortless, directive talent and Steve Nicks’ magical charisma.

What steps do you take to get into the creative mindset?

I try to get out of my own way.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of your creative process, and how do you overcome them?

I would say the most challenging aspect is dealing with the self-critical voice. It can be paralysing when it surfaces. The way I try to overcome it is by having compassion and having a sense of humour towards all the ridiculous thoughts. Humour really helps, because the voice then becomes a friend and not an enemy. The critical voice can be very important as long as it doesn’t become the only voice that’s talking. 

Do you ever feel restricted by the medium of music or do you create in different mediums as well (painting, photography and so on)?

Each musical project conjures imagery. My process to releasing music is quite multidisciplinary so there’s never been any feeling of restriction. When a song is in the demo phase, I put together a mood-board of images that feel close to where I imagine the song to belong. This really helps to get the song over the finish line because it makes me envision the world of the music. I love film and theatre, I trained as an actress, so making music videos is a tool I use to enhance the power of the creative process. We recently shot a music video for BlueBelle’s first 2024 release as it was such a joyous day. The combination of being dedicated to the purpose of the shoot and then allowing the fun to unleash creates something rather special. 

What do you want people to take away from listening to your music?

The overall take away I would want from people listening to my music is to feel. As I grow as an artist, I hope the oceans of feeling will grow too. I am just truly thankful that I get to create and when people listen, it’s really sacred thing indeed.